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Author Topic: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?  (Read 5252 times)

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Offline Bill Quick

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Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« on: July 27, 2012, 11:11:58 AM »
Patterico's Pontifications: Oregon Man Sentenced to Jail for Collecting Rainwater on His Own Property?
I include the question mark just because it’s one of those stories that sounds too outrageous to be true. But I have to admit, it seems like it's true:
A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., says he plans to appeal his conviction in Jackson County (Ore.) Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers called "three illegal reservoirs" on his property, and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.

. . . .

According to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned. Therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers.

Note that the law involved is nearly a hundred years old....
"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone

Offline CarolinaJoe

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 11:27:58 AM »
I have heard of similar cases elsewhere, but none involved jail time that I can recall, just fines.

A result of events like this might be to encourage folks to collect water in a clandestine manner.  Buried storage tanks for example.


Offline cd

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 11:33:10 AM »
I have heard of similar cases elsewhere, but none involved jail time that I can recall, just fines.

A result of events like this might be to encourage folks to collect water in a clandestine manner.  Buried storage tanks for example.
^ Another result would be to encourage folks to avoid the state as retreat location.

Riparian rights are pretty much a must...

Offline ND Martin

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 12:46:18 PM »
The closing paragraph of that CNS piece is bang on...

Quote
But Harrington also said that he will never stop fighting the government on this issue.

When something is wrong, you just, as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say, ‘This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.

Offline Langenator

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 02:56:58 PM »
I believe CO is another one of those states that won't let you collect your own rainwater.
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“In the house of a wise man are stores of food, wine, and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
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Offline PAGUY

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 03:10:46 PM »
I am not even going to get into how stupid these laws are.   
I did however read on a different forum that Colorado has amended the law to allow private citizens(non commercial) to harvest rainwater. I have not looked into it for cold hard facts.


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Offline BooMushroom

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2012, 05:02:45 PM »
I believe CO is another one of those states that won't let you collect your own rainwater.

One of those few issues that is actually better in California than Utah :)

Offline Haverwilde

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 05:07:30 PM »
Reading the article, it appears as if he was actually jailed for diverting a stream into his ponds after having pled guilty to doing it once before.

When you define rainwater and snow melt as water in a stream, there tends to be more at issue than just semantics.
Diabolus fecit, ut id facerem!

Offline Langenator

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 05:22:17 PM »
Yeah, if you read the whole story, it sounds like the dispute just might be about whether he's damming something that may or may not be a tributary to the river which provides water to the city of Medford.

Water rights laws, contracts, agreements, etc tend to be very old and arcane, and the disputes over their interpretation have provided employment for generations of lawyers.
Fortuna Fortis Paratus
“In the house of a wise man are stores of food, wine, and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
"We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood, but we will never be content with a master." -Pashtun malik, 1815

Offline xtron

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 08:18:06 PM »
collecting rain water running off your roof is one thing...daming a stream, even a seasonal stream is another...building a dam and creating a small lake , yet another.  there are a bunch of regs for each, and sometimes they make no sense.  \
for example..here in VA..if you want to build an earthen dam to create a small lake for swimming, fishing, and recreation, it takes several years, studies, hearings, saftyn studies and enviromental analysis..........but if you want to build an earthen dam to create a small lake for watering your cattle, a simple county premit costing $50 is all that is needed.
guess the moral of the story is if you want to build a dam and have a lake, buy a cow

Offline pslblog

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Re: Jailed For Storing Own Rainwater In Oregon?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 12:32:45 PM »
It's also worth noting that another reason for diverting streams circa 1925 was to provide cooling water for stills. In "Memoirs of an Oregon Moonshiner" author Ray Nelson describes quite explicitly how he ran his still with the aid of a diverted stream. http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Oregon-Moonshiner-Ray-Nelson/dp/0870042556/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343669214&sr=8-1&keywords=memoirs+of+an+oregon+moonshiner

The book also details how corrupt law enforcement and judiciary in Oregon used the justice system to extort moonshiners operating in their area. Of course, now the competition from corrupt environmentalists is so extreme that dirty law enforcement personnel don't have any chance at serious money. I expect that this guy was too loud and too rich to avoid attention from the environmental bar in Oregon.


 

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